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How to Celebrate Christmas on a Budget

a simple touch - a card that says "Love" - can make gifts shine

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the holiday season because your finances are minimal, but your heart is set on giving? With the holidays just around the corner the sales are ramping up, but so is your anxiety. You’re stressed out because you want to be generous, but you still have to celebrate Christmas on a budget. Whew! Let’s face it, the guilt of gift-giving is at an all-time high. People like to feel special around the holidays and the pressure to find the perfect gift can cause financial sabotage.

This is the reason so many Americans are in debt. We feel pressured to have something under the tree for our loved ones and we’re willing to risk it all to make it a reality.

Well, I have news for you. There is a way you can celebrate Christmas on a budget and still enjoy the season without the guilt—from Thanksgiving, all the way through the New Year!

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Here are 6 strategies to help you pull off the perfect gift exchange while creating a memorable experience that won’t break the bank!  

Family/Friends Gift Exchange

This is a great way to cut the cost of gift-giving. Simply invite friends and family to participate in a gift exchange with a price point of $15-$20 minimum. This will eliminate the pressure to overspend and it won’t break your budget. To make it fun and exciting you can even throw in a few gag gifts for laughs. In addition, adding a handwritten notecard or a framed photo with your gift gives it a personalized touch which is great for creating fond memories. Some cheap Christmas gifts are actually right on the money.

This is an awesome opportunity to share cookies and recipes with family/friends – which is a very minimal expense. Simply invite your friends and family over for wine and enjoy a variety of cookies while exchanging recipes. To keep it fun and exciting, you could also have a cookie contest to showcase the best or most unique cookie recipe. Be sure to capture the moments by taking lots of pictures.

Closet Swap Party

This strategy is ideal for the fashionistas who love to shop for clothes, shoes, and designer handbags. We all know the cost of an expansive wardrobe can be expensive. Therefore, the closet swap is an easy guilt-free method to soothe the urge to splurge. Simply go through your closet and take your gently used or new designer clothing, shoes, and handbags to the closet swap “party.” This party can be a simple swap exchange, or you can price your items below retail and walk away with some pocket change.


Chatbook is a perfect way to share fond memories with your friends and family in a personalized way. Chatbook allows you to upload your images from various platforms and make magic happen. You can also choose the size of your Chatbook, the cover image, and the cover type. This allows you to keep the cost affordable and avoid falling for financial sabotage during the holidays, which can be all too easy. If you want to personalize your gift, you can also add text to your Chatbook. Simply wrap a ribbon around the book and present it to your loved one.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is not just for the workspace. This can be incorporated amongst friends and family which allows you to budget for one person versus many. So instead of giving cheap Christmas gifts to a whole bunch of people, you give one lovely gift to your secret Santa? No one is left out if names are chosen and kept secret until gift-giving time. You can also incorporate a daily gift by using simple gestures. For example, providing coffee and donuts for the recipient with a special note wishing them well in the new year.


We can’t forget about the food. Potlucks are a great way to cut back on food costs. There are so many options when it comes to potlucks because you can make it a themed potluck, or you can simply make a list of the necessary items and allow friends/family to choose which items to purchase and bring for holiday dinner. Don’t forget to add Karaoke or a dance-off to make it a fun and festive event.

cheap christmas gifts

Final Thoughts

You can take these simple ideas and make them as creative as you’d like. The goal is to remain financially intact when the smoke clears. Remember to keep it fun and guilt-free. It is TOTALLY possible to enjoy this Christmas season on a budget —Enjoy!

cheap christmas gifts

Comments (2)

  1. Angel Mahoney says:

    All simply GREAT IDEAS!

  2. Jeanner Dixon says:

    This was a great article with realistic strategies that can be easily incorporated. The message itself is a gift alone because it’s kinda helpful to be able to know that others experience the same issues. It’s good to be reminded that there are many simple and heartfelt ways to show your love during the holidays without spending irresponsibly. Thanks for writing this article at the right time of the year!!

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